Friday, August 31, 2007

Bigguns' at 5 weeks

The visiting nurse came for her last visit yesterday. The boys are getting big! They now weigh in at:
Winston: 6lbs 10oz, 19 inches
Wesley: 6lbs 8oz, 18.75 inches
Charlie: 6lbs 14oz, 19.25 inches

Their due date was September 6th. So by the time we hit that, they will be the size of average singletons at birth. It is very exciting that they have already outgrown Preemie diapers and the Preemie and Justborn sized clothes.

They are eating so much now, they are officially members of the "Clean Plate Club". They will down a (large) bottle in no time and then start to gnaw on their hand as if we never fed them in the first place. Again, it's just shocking they'd have such appetites considering their parents....

We have been blessed with the company of Rob's Uncle Raymond. He has already changed numerous diapers, fed hungry bellies (including ours), and most of all, already pulled an overnight shift on his second day here! I was able to sleep for over 6 hours straight! We are going to rotate nights so that everyone will be able to sleep through every few nights. Unfortunately, I think we're guaranteeing that he'll never return for a visit...

(I promise to provide photographic evidence.)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Life is good.

This is what Win must be thinking...

Rob has mastered multi-tasking. Next one of us will try to actually feed 3 at once. (This could take awhile...)

And because I think our boys are just the cutest things in the world, here is Wesley and Charlie enjoying a moment:

Winston enjoying the bouncy seat (and his parents enjoying his not crying)

One month old

The boys turned one month old today!

The NICU nurses took the following photo of the boys a few days after they were born. So we decided we're going to try to recreate it each month for the first year. That was a lot better said than done!

4 days old

One month old

And some outtakes...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Finding a new normal

(from Rob)
Having cheese and crackers before dinner is nothing remarkable, but somehow finding a way to do it while feeding three infants seems like a true achievement. (Especially given that Ginger was breastfeeding two at once. At one point, she was not only nursing Wes and Charlie, but she was popping a cracker in my mouth at the same time. Feeding three at once! I would have thought it was impossible.)

It has only been in the last few days that we have begun to reincorporate little bits of life back into the routine of caring for babies. A little cleaning here, some school work there. Neither of us ever assumed that vacuuming would make us feel so accomplished.

It is certain that we have a ways to go before we get to our "new normal" (after all, someone actually will need to work at some point to feed these little bedbugs), but at least it seems that we are on our way. Just having hope that we will get there goes a long way toward making the days doable. Many thanks to our families who have been incredibly supportive as we take the baby steps necessary to getting back on top of life. God bless you for your goodness to us.

(from Ginger)
Trying to get back to "normal", I have found pleasure in the simple things. I've enjoyed things that I hadn't since May, such as taking a walk around the neighborhood with Rob and Julep, getting my hair cut (my first excursion out), sleeping in my own bed (we had moved downstairs to the guestroom), or even just sleeping on my back! I'm sure Rob is sick of my saying "I haven't done this in 4 months!" But it's nice to start to feel "normal" again...

A number of you have kindly asked for updates on my health. Physically, each day is better than the previous. Each day, I am able to walk a little more upright and a little faster. The first two weeks or so I still had a tremendous amount of swelling from the fluids they had to give me during/after the emergency surgery. The excess fluid made it feel feel like I was walking on jello, or made it very difficult to bend my knees to step into the shower. But thankfully, that is about 95% gone. (It was great to wake up each day and lose 5lbs of fluid!) I also left the hospital slightly anemic so I feel tired, but I have to think much of that is due to the sleep deprivation. It's been easy to think I'm entirely healed, but I'm reminded every now and again with pain that I need to take time to heal. But it has only been 4 weeks, so I need to just be patient.

Emotionally, I feel so blessed to be alive and not have had an emergency hysterectomy (which we were told, and I believe, would have been definite if I were under any less skillful doctors). But this has also left me trying to piece together what happened. I am constantly asking Rob to recount the events between the birth and the days following. I don't remember much of it, and what I do, my memories are all over the place. I just saw a photo of myself from my first visit to the NICU, the night of my emergency surgery. I barely recognized myself and had no recollection of a large board that was strapped to my arm to cover all the IVs. But I do remember going to the NICU and holding the boys for the first time, and that is a memory I will cherish. I am still trying to deal with the weight of the experience and try to understand not only the facts, but the emotions behind everything that happened. It will take a long time to fully process everything, and I'm thankful that Rob is able to do so with me. It was frightening, to say the least. Not just for myself, but for family and friends. Thankfully, God got us through. And now I must rely on him to understand and find peace in order to move forward.

We promise the next post will have photos of the munchkins... :)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

2 weeks down, 998 to go

Not that we're counting down till the boys hit 18...

We really have been blessed with healthy, easy-going (so far!) boys. God reminds us everyday that he does not give us more than we can handle at any given time. We find ourselves wondering how we will handle the 3 of them when they are all screaming for hours at night, when we can't physically hold and comfort all of them at once, or even what we'll do with them when they are alert and awake for more than just feeding time. But for now, it's important that we keep reminding ourselves to live in the present, not to dwell in the past or worry about the future. But even with these reminders, the gift of getting to care for triplets is nothing less than overwhelming.

The boys continue to grow and put on weight. The visiting nurse came on Friday and weighed them again. Charlie is now 5lbs 6oz, Win is 5lbs 4 oz, and Wesley is 5lbs 2 oz. She mentioned in passing that our visits were her "pleasant visits" because the boys were so healthy. It's easy to forget just how sick they could have been and how many preemies struggle at this stage. Yet another blessing.

We're starting to see the amusements of how triplets interact. All but one can be sound asleep, and the moment you take the fussy one out of the crib, the others wake up. Also, we've found that we'll hear them fussing/grunting/discussing the latest world news so loudly on the monitors that we'll go in and check on them, and the moment you open the door, they are all quiet as can be. I just imagine them saying "Shh...Mom and Dad are coming...pretend to be asleep".

They've also learned to help each other out. Here Wes is holding in Win's pacifier with his head. How thoughtful!

We've also found that the sleep spacers truly are necessary. When left to sleep without them (when they are all in the wash), they tend to migrate towards each other.

One of the highlights of the week was the Bluebirds night nanny service. These night nannies specialize in multiples, and come care for the babies for the entire night in order to give the parents one good night of sleep. Rob and I took the opportunity to take a bottle of sparkling cabernet out onto the front porch and enjoy the summer evening. It was such a wonderful date, we could have talked all night, but had to remind ourselves the nanny was here to let us sleep. A continuous 7 hours of sleep has never felt so refreshing. We're already looking forward to her arrival next week. Many thanks to family and friends who have allowed for this luxury!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Have triplets. Will travel.

The boys (all 4 of them) are currently napping to recover from our big day out. We walked to the pediatrician appointment today, in order to enjoy the perfect summer day. This outing, though, meant that we got to enjoy more comments from strangers as we passed by with our SUV-sized stroller for 3. The best comment actually came from a 5 year old who, as he passed by on his Razor scooter, stopped (nearly skidding out), starred at the boys and just said "Whoa".

The triplet stroller (the truck behind Rob is a good comparison for size...)

Waiting at the bus stop (loading and unloading from the house to the stroller is a two person job)

The pediatrician was pleased with the boys' health (a week and a half down and we haven't unintentionally harmed the boys), especially with their continuous weight gain. Shanna, if you're reading this, we nearly called you and Christine in the NICU with the good news. Their official weigh-ins (not sure why this is so different than the visiting nurse's assessment yesterday...):

Winston: 5lbs 2oz, 18 inches

Wesley: 4lbs 15oz, 18 inches

Charlie: a whopping 5lbs 4oz, 18.25 inches

We continue to be blessed with how the Lord has provided. The last two times we have visited the pediatrician, we have left with 7-8 cans of free Similac NeoSure formula, left with them to distribute from the Similac reps. They have also helped us sign up for the multiples program, where Similac will send another 3 cases of the NeoSure formula. Now I just need to look into a multiples program for Pampers, as we're going through 25-30 diapers a day.

One multiples program we won't be looking into is Playtex. We tried their Ventair bottle last night, and to keep this clean, let's just say we were less than pleased. Also frustrating was that the bottles, though proven useless as feeding systems, were indistructable and wouldn't succumb to a cleaver. Yes, we tried. They now rest peacefully in our garbage after having been crushed by Rob's left foot.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Survived the first week!

Win, Wes and Charlie have now been home for a week, and we've all survived. As of this morning, they now weigh: 5lbs (Charlie), 4lbs 15oz (Win), and 4lbs 12oz (Wes). We were told the goal is that they gain 1 oz a day, and our little overachievers have put on 9-10oz in 6 days. We shouldn't be surprised they are good eaters considering who their parents are...

Rob and I have somehow been able to function on 2 hour chunks of sleep. We would not have been able to survive without the help of my mom's daily visits. Her presence has allowed us to nap, take short walks around the neighborhood just to get outside, have fresh laundry, and most of all eat. And Julep enjoys having someone actually pay attention to her. Thanks Grammy!

Enjoy today's tummy time photos. I know many of you are looking for close-up photos of the boys, but it's a bit hard when they sleep all the time or are lying on their bellies. We'll get there.

Grammy, Rob, Charlie, Wes, Win, and Julep (yes, Julep considers herself one of the babies and wanted her tummy time too)


Winston (sleeping through his exercise time)


The 3 Little Bunnies (each Bunn needs his own bunny!)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The pack is back together!

It is amazing how Monday feels like a lifetime ago. With the arrival of all 3, our days have been broken down into 3-4 hour chunks for changing/feeding/sleeping cycles. These last few days have been a learning experience, to say the least, as each moment continues to teach us even more.

We are so fortunate that the boys are so easy going that they have allowed us to put them on the same schedule. We're still trying to figure out how one of us can feed two at once, while the other feeds one. Rob learned the hard way while holding two and christening one with the milk from the bottle while trying to burp the other. But we're getting there. We have learned, though, how to use the camera at 4:30am, while holding a baby:

We've also learned that we did not need to purchase a monitor because Julep is always the first to nursery at the slightest baby sound. We like to think it's because she has accepted the boys as her pack, as opposed to her thinking they might taste like squirrel.

We have also experienced the comments and stares from strangers at the sight of our triplet stroller. It's amusing to be walking along and have people just stop and congratulate us. It's hard not to walk alongside with a proud grin. But my favorite comment came from someone seated on a bench, who yelled out "How many?" after seeing 3 car seats. Here they are getting ready to go to the pediatrician. It only took us 45 minutes to leave the house and drive a half mile.

The big activity for yesterday was tummy time. All four of the Bunn men did a great job exercising their neck muscles.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A time to reflect

At this point, all our boys are home! Wes and Charlie invaded on Sunday night and big brother Win joined them on Monday. We have a lot to share with you about the first two nights with babies at the Bunn house, but for now we feel it is important to reflect back on the events that surrounded their birth. For both of us, verbalizing/writing what happened as the complications from Ginger's c-section began to unfold is a big part of making sense of it all and processing the events within our worldview.

We spent the better part of 8 months worrying about all the things that might have happened to the boys if they were born extremely prematurely. But we never really spent any time thinking about what could happen to Ginger. And why would we? She was such a super star throughout the entire pregnancy (only one day of morning sickness, working past 30 weeks) that there was no reason to worry about her. Even the c-section itself was largely a textbook procedure.

We were not prepared when she started bleeding. And we certainly were not prepared for her to slip to a point where her blood pressure reached 60/40, two transfusions could not raise her red blood count and her kidneys were shutting down. Yet all these things happened. In the moment, we never really considered how close she came to needing an emergency hysterectomy or even to dying.

We cannot look back on that day and make sense of it without seeing it all through the lens of our faith in God. God never promised us that, if we were faithful, we would never encounter babies born prematurely or surgeries with severe complications. Rather, his promise to us through the Bible is that He is with us in the midst of whatever suffering we encounter, and that he will sustain us through it. We have to say that he did just that.

To everyone who has said, "I don't know how you made it through," we must answer that God, in His grace, gave us the strength to endure it without losing faith. And now, having seen the way God has sustained us in this instance, how can we doubt that He will sustain us through the myriad trials that will accompany raising these boys? We can count on God in the future, because He has proven faithful in the past. What a powerful reality - we see God acting in our lives exactly the way the Bible shows that He has acted since Genesis.

But, of course, we were never alone on that day. So many of you were with us. Those of you who prayed for us fully shared in this experience. We are so grateful that your prayers covered the surgeons who healed Ginger. We hope you see that, when we say that God sustained us, your prayers were answered, and on the basis of how God responded in this instance, you will have greater confidence the next time you turn to him in faith.

This is, of course, the way we interpret all that happened to us. One who has different presuppositions or a different worldview would certainly explain the day differently. But for us, seeing the unique experiences of our own lives fully echo all the things that the Bible tells us about who God is and how He acts is no coincidence. It is an affirmation that the needle of our compass is pointed in the right direction.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Our first lesson in parenting: flexibility

The boys continue to do well in the NICU. The nurses mentioned Charlie should come home on Sunday and Wes will most likely be joining him. (But again, we've learned anything can happen.) The good news is is that Win is not far behind and will hopefully be home by next weekend. He needs to gain weight and desire to feed by mouth at least every 4 hours (he still has his feeding tube in).

We've dubbed today "New Years Eve", as this is the ending of an era with at least one of our sons joining us tomorrow (which also happens to be the 3 year anniversary of when Julep joined our family). Because we found out right before New Years Eve that we were pregnant, we are now going to finally enjoy the champagne we bought for that occasion. Tomorrow will be a new day!

Enjoy these precious little bunns...



(He didn't get the memo about the matching outfits...)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Just kidding...

Turns out Charlie was back in the incubator (from the bassinet) this morning because he was having a little trouble keeping his temperature up. So it will be a few more days before he comes home. I hate to say we are slightly relieved to have a few more days to prepare for his arrival.

Charlie is coming home!

During our visit to the NICU yesterday, we learned that Charlie is ready to come home on Friday! He should be sleeping in his new crib, under our watchful eye (eek!), tomorrow. He was kept in the NICU in order to be close to his brothers (for which we are so thankful), but he had mastered feeding, can keep his internal temperature, doesn't have any respiratory issues, etc. He passed his car seat test (he looked so itty bitty in that huge car seat - see below). So after only one week and 2 days, he is coming home!

We are scrambling to get the nursery ready as we thought we'd have another week, but are so excited to have one of our sons home with us.

Win and Wes continue to do really well. Win still has a feeding tube, though he is taking a bottle. Wes also still has a feeding tube, and is also doing well with the bottle. He is learning to nurse (Wes just thinks that time is for sleeping). He still has an IV in as he is getting back on track with his feeding, but that should come out soon.

Good news all around!